After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
Unlike a lot of contemporary fans, I haven’t read very much by Simone Elkeles. Long before I started my huge reading craze, I read one of her books. I think it was Perfect Chemistry. I remember that I liked it, but it was sooooo long ago. Everyone else was so excited for this book, and I knew that I had to read it just because of that. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t even finish this book. I think I got about 100 pages into it, and then I was done. I skimmed the rest. I’m not going to be rating this book, but I’ll tell you guys what I didn’t like about it.
Wild Cards stars out really good. It’s a story about a football player, Ashtyn, who has just been made captain of her team. Her sister, who she hasn’t seen in about 8 years, has finally moved back home….and she brought along two additional packages: her 5-year-old son and her stepson, Derek. Ashtyn instantly feels a spark with Derek and fights it by treating him like he’s basically dirt under her foot. Then, Ashtyn’s boyfriend betrays her and the team by switching schools to be the captain of their rival team, and Ashtyn’s relationship with Derek begins to grow.
The beginning relationship between Ashtyn and Derek is both funny and cute. All the snide remarks topped by the sweet gestures every now and then were a great starter for what was to come. Derek, especially, was a great character! He was hot, smart (a smartass, really!), dedicated, loyal, and just sweet. He had a total bad boy act going on that many girls are going to love. If all of the characters had been like Derek, this book would have been a major hit. Unfortunately, Ashtyn was a whole other issue. She was whiney, annoying, bitchy, spoiled, and just an overall obnoxious character. I found myself cringing every single time that she came on the page. She just wasn’t someone that I wanted to read about.
My major issue with this book was how choppy it was. It literally seemed like a group of people in an acting class rehearsing their lines. There were very short simple sentences, the characters didn’t seem to have the chemistry that I really wanted to see, and the supporting characters failed to impress me. It’s pretty choppy all throughout the book. I think the beginning might have been a bit better because that’s when Derek’s bad boy personality is at its peak. It starts dying down around page 60, though.
Overall, I wasn’t a fan of this book, and I will not be continuing this series. I would encourage contemporary fans to give it a shot, especially younger teens.
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Publication Date: September 24th, 2013
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC provided by publisher